The IUCN now recognizes the savannah Loxodonta africana and forest Loxodonta cyclotis elephants to be separate species. Despite ecological, behavioural and morphological differences, and different habitat ranges, genetic studies confirm that the two species and hybrids coexist in forest–savannah ecotones. However, the hybrid phenotypes have not yet been described. In this survey we examined whether the phenotypes of the two species and of hybrids can be distinguished. In the first step, we used a machine learning algorithm (K-nearest neighbours) to compare 296 reference images of African elephants from five forest areas and six savannah areas where hybrids have not been recorded, confirming that six morphological criteria can be used to distinguish the species with more than 90% confidence. In the second step, we analysed 1,408 videos of elephants from 14 camera traps in Sebitoli, in Kibale National Park, Uganda, part of the main hybridization area. We used a multiple correspondence analysis and a species assignment key, highlighting the presence of three categories of phenotypes. Compared to the savannah and forest phenotypes (36.8 and 12.1%, respectively), the intermediate phenotypes, which could include hybrids, were more frequent (51.1%). Further studies combining morphology and genetics of the same individuals will be necessary to refine this species assignment key to characterize phenotypes confidently. This non-invasive, fast and inexpensive phenotypical-based method could be a valuable tool for conservation programmes.